Last year, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, and it made international news. Pro-Ukrainian factions considered Russian actions to be unfair regional despotism, whereas pro-Russian groups considered the annexation to be justified.
Amidst all of this, one particular voice remained unheard, and it is unheard even to this day: the Tatars of Crimea are currently being marginalized and persecuted, and their plight is ignored not just by the international media, but even by Muslim states, with the sole exception of Turkey.
Such silence is deafening, especially considering the fact that the Tatars are a known minority in the region, and are even recognized by Russia as one of the key communities to have been persecuted and oppressed during Stalin’s era. Yet, virtually the whole world remains silent on this issue. Continue Reading
Recently, Kyrgyzstan commemorated the fourth anniversary of the violence that shook its southern part back in 2010. Back then, over 100,000 Uzbeks had to leave Kyrgyzstan and seek refuge in Uzbekistan in the aftermath of the riots.
It all started as a simple brawl between groups of Kyrgyz and Uzbek youngsters in a casino in the city of Osh. Shortly thereafter, it took the form of full-fledged ethnic violence. A lot many issues were highlighted by the incidents of 2010: Kyrgyzstan’s ever-subtle struggle for power and resources between the elites of Bishkek and their southern counterparts from Osh and Jalalabad, and the acute economic inequality between different communities, especially in the southern region of the country. Continue Reading
The Sochi Olympics proved to be a big success — exactly what Russia wanted. Right from the opening ceremony itself, the entire event was a megalith in terms of popularity and success. If one wanted to catch a glimpse of Russia’s glorious past as well as its vibrant art, this year’s Winter Olympics were the thing to watch!
But the Olympics at Sochi were not without their share of controversy. Take, for example, the case of the Pussy Riot protest performance.
So success on one hand and chaos on the other. A mixed bag, probably?
However, Russia’s mixed bag had one key element missing.
The plight of the Muslims of Sochi. Continue Reading
Out of all the poor countries that emerged from the ashes of the erstwhile Soviet Union, Tajikistan stands alone as the poorest. While the papers surely talk about the rapid macroeconomic growth of the country, most of the ordinary Tajiks are yet to witness the brighter side of the economic progress.
Amidst such dismal scenario, back in November 2013, Tajikistan re-elected Emomali Rahmon as its leader, giving him a seven-year term at the office. Former chairman of a collective farm, Rahmon has been dominating the national politics ever since the country came into existence back in 1992 — he became the President in 1994, won for the second time in 1999, and then again in 2003 and 2006. It surely would have been a wonderful political resume had it not been for the absence of any serious political competition.
Question is, if there is rampant poverty in Tajikistan, why is everyone repeatedly giving one chance after another to Rahmon? Continue Reading